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Your location: Home > Related Articles > Scientists invent a new type of thermoelectric device that can be worn to collect energy and self repair

Scientists invent a new type of thermoelectric device that can be worn to collect energy and self repair

Author:QINSUN Released in:2024-03 Click:83

Thermoelectric systems can use temperature differences to generate electricity, and previous research teams have applied them to small refrigerators, burning fires for electricity, and even special coatings around the world. However, what this article aims to introduce to you is a wearable human thermal collection device developed by scientists from the University of Colorado. In addition to being able to collect energy from a person in the form of a ring, it can even self repair when damaged.

It is reported that the new device is an extension of the early research by the engineering team of the school. The research team demonstrated in 2018 an electronic skin that can bend, twist, and fit the wearer's body surface, with sensors embedded.

At first, this technology was only carefully used for wearable computers, but one exciting thing about it is its ability to self repair when damaged.

Obviously, this characteristic is closely related to the special polymer (polyimide/polymine) used in electronic skin. After doping with silver nanoparticles, a chemical bond can be formed in the material structure.

Once a tear occurs, the chemical bonds in the damaged area can self repair. Differently, the new study introduced in this article does not require the connection of the thermoelectric ring to an external power source, as with electronic skins.

Instead, thermoelectric rings can utilize the temperature difference between the wearer's body and the environment to achieve self power supply. This function consists of tiny thermoelectric chips implanted on polyimide substrates, which are microscopically connected by liquid metal wires.

Researchers have pointed out that the device can generate a voltage of 1 volt per square centimeter of skin it covers. Although the value may seem small, it is sufficient to power wearable devices such as smartwatches/fitness trackers.

In order to enhance output power, the research team has also proposed the idea of combining them to form large-area connections. If magnified to the level of the wristband, the device can generate a voltage of approximately 5V.

Later, this device was still made of completely recyclable materials, and all components can be dissolved or separated. Later, it can be reused by immersing it in a special solution.

Xiao Jianliang, senior author of the paper and associate professor of mechanical engineering at CU Boulder, stated that they are working hard to improve the manufacturing cost and reliability of the new device, while minimizing the impact on the environment as much as possible.

The details of this study have been published in today's issue of Science Advanced.

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